Five-Year Work Plan for Advancing Adherence of Catholicism in our Nation to the Direction of Sinification


I. Basic Background

At the Central United Front Work Conference convened in May 2015, General Secretary Xi Jinping clearly stated that active guidance of religions' adaptation to socialist society must adhere to the direction of sinification. At the National Religious Work Conference convened in April 2016 and the 19th Party Congress convened in October 2017, General Secretary Xi Jinping further explained our country's position on sinifying religion.

In December 2016, the "Resolution" of the 9th meeting of the National Chinese Catholic Congress emphasized that for the following five years, the Catholic Church in China "should thoroughly study and implement the spirit of the series of important addresses by General Secretary Xi Jinping and of the National Conference on Religious Work, to continuously lead the entire nation's clergy and congregation to adhere to the direction of the sinification of Catholicism."

In recent years, while adhering to the direction of sinification of Catholicism, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (hereinafter the CCPA and BCCCC), have promoted the church's theological research, have organized several seminars and forums, published relevant books, and thoroughly considered the path for developing the Catholic Church in China. Some local Patriotic Associations and Catholic Administration Commissions (PA & CAC), and parishes have also organized seminars discussing sinfication of Catholicism in our country, helping develop an ideological atmosphere in the church for the sinification of Catholicism.

Currently, Catholicism in our nation's adherence to the direction of sinification has achieved greater understanding among priests and the intellectuals, but ordinary Catholics do not always accurately understand its meaning and goals; and in certain areas, like church rites, their have been rich accomplishments in sinification, but in terms of theological ideology, innovation and exploration starting from contemporary Chinese social and cultural environment in the consideration of sinification of Catholicism; and there are still differing viewpoints within the Church on adherence to the direction sinification, due to reasons such as bias and misunderstanding.

In order to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people in the world, Paul the Apostle initiated the idea: "I have become all things to all men." (1 Cor 9:22). From an historical perspective, the healthy development of Catholicism in our country and the Church's adaptation to society and culture are the same, and there have been both positive and negative experiences that can be drawn from in this regard. After the Second Vatican Council, discussion of localization among the churches of the world opened a new route for the local development of the Catholicism. In our country, adherence to the direction of sinification of Catholicism has had an important significance, and since the establishment of new China, especially in the 40 years since Reform and Opening, the Catholic Church in China has workd to adapt to the socialist society with Chinese characteristics and has had great achievements on evangelizing. As our country has entered into a new era of development, it is urgent to solidify the foundation for the development of the Church in our country's society and culture by deepening the sinification of Catholicism. It is therefore necessary to be problem-oriented, to focus on study of theological ideology, and to establish examples of the sinification of Catholicism, to forcefully advance the sinification of Catholicism.

II. Guiding Ideology, Primary Goals, and Basic Meaning

(1) Guiding Ideology


(2) Main Goals



(3) Basic Meaning

Adherance to the direction of sinification of Catholicism in our country requires conscientious approval in politics. Love of the motherland, and obedience to the national regime is the responsibility and obligation of every Christian. The core of political approval is accepting the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the Socialist system, and preserving the authority of the Constitution and laws, the unity of the people, and the integrity of the mother land;

Adherence to the direction of sinification of Catholicism in our country requires conscientious cultural integration. Practice the Core Socialist Values and accept infusion of the exceptional Chinese traditional culture; advocate Chinese styles and integrate with Chinese culture in suggestions on theological ideology, expressions of social rites, and in construction of churches, painting, music and art.

Adhering to the direction of sinification of Catholicism in our country requires conscientious adaptation to society. To adapt to and serve society, and to fulfill its social responsibility, carry out all work of the Catholicism in accordance with law, preserve the lawful rights and interests of the Church, carry forward the Catholic spirit of being the ‘salt and light' of the world, explore and expand new paths for serving society, promoting social harmony, and join in building a beautiful China.

III. Deepen the Political, Legal and Social Recognition of the Chinese Catholic Church

Lead clergy and congregations to actively practice the Core Socialist Values, ardently love the motherland, support the leadership of the Communist Party and the socialist system, observe law and discipline, and serve society.

(1) Carry out Publicity and Education on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and the Core Socialist Values

1. Study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era through methods such as publicity, visits, and study exchanges; strengthening clergy and congregations' self-confidence in the path, theory, systems, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and recognition of the unity between patriotism and devotion, and between the healthy development of Catholicism and the prosperity and strength of the motherland;

2. Carry out publicity and education on the Core Socialist Values, and make their practice a basic requirement of adherence to the direction of sinifying the Catholic Church; and guide clergy and congregations to establish and adhere to correct views of history and ethnicity, and strengthen awareness of the community of the Chinese people.

3. Implement the charter and work regulations of the Patriotic Association, complete and improve each local organization of the patriotic association, and give play to the role of the patriotic association organizations as bridges and ties.

(2) Persist in the Principle of Independent and Autonomous Self-management of the Church.

1. Independent and autonomous self-management of religious affairs can continue to be carried out through the church leadership's research, routine study, holding memorial activities, editing and publishing reviews and research papers by the leadership of the CCPA & BCCCC,

2. The CCPA & BCCCC are to guide and oversee institutes of theology in establishing courses on the independent and autonomous self-management of the Church, and complete revisions to the "Teaching Materials for the Catholic Church in China's Independent and Autonomous Self-management" giving play to the positive role of the teaching materials in education and study.

3. Carry out foreign exchanges on a foundation of equality and friendship, so as to tell the story of the Catholic Church in China well, explaining the meaning and nature of the Catholic Church in China's adherence to the direction of sinification, eliminating misunderstandings and suspicions, and gaining understanding and support.

(3) Strengthen Conception and Education on Rule of Law

1. Through different formats, thoroughly study the newly revised "Regulations on Religious Affairs" at various levels, and periodically organize training on government policies and regulations, leading clergy and congregations to dedicate themselves to consciously establishing national rule of law, strengthening awareness of the state and citizenship, and correctly recognizing and handling the relationship between the state and religion.

2. Strengthen theoretical research and exploratory practices; promote Church morals and teachings that align with socialist morals and the rule of law; promote the integration of Church ethics and morality with traditional Chinese virtues, combine the spirit of the times with the requirements of social development; to give play to positive role of Catholic faith should play a positive role in governing the nation through morality.

3. Strengthen education on the rule of law in theological institutes, including it in the curriculum and offering courses such as on legal foundations', religious policies and regulations; strengthening seminarians legal knowledge and conscious compliance with the law.

(4) Give Play to the Active Role of the Church in Promoting Economic and Social Development

1. Carry forward the Church's excellent tradition of service to society, uniting and leading clerics and congregations' to integration and service to contemporary Chinese society and fulfillment of social responsibilities.

2. In areas where chuirch members live in concentrated communities, vigorously build healthy religious relations, jointly build public order and good customs, promote economic and social development, and build a beautiful China.

3. With the overall planning and leadership of the CCPA and the BCCCC, encourage clergy and congregations to actively participate in public interest charitable activities, highlighting key areas, increasing the level of regulation of Church public interest charitable activities and increase awareness of environmental protection.

IV. Promote the Integration of Catholicism and the Exceptional Chinese Culture

Foster cultural consciousness and self-confidence in being Chinese within the church, enrich expressions of Christian faith with our exceptional humanistic traditions; summarize experiences with sinification in the history of our nation's church, and begin research on church history from the view of the Catholic church in China.

(1) Expand the Church's Recognition and Identification with Traditional Chinese Culture

1. Use various means to increase the Church's understanding of Chinese traditional culture, build cultural consciousness and self-confidence in being Chinese, integrate Chinese traditional recognition of ethics into the spirit of Christ's gospel and promote rooting of the church's faith so it takes root in the Chinese humanities.

2. Increase the content on Chinese traditional culture in catechumen classes and catechist teachings in dioceses and parishes so that the gospel faith and Chinese traditional culture are organically integrated into the daily life of Christians.

3. Strive to cultivate a pool of research talent and theological institute faculty that have both a higher theological achievements and profound literacy in Chinese culture.

4. Emphasize the teaching of Chinese traditional culture and philosophy in arranging courses in theological institutes, cultivate seminarians' use of Chinese culture and ways of thinking to preach the church's gospel truth.

(2) Form a Chinese Catholic History that has the Chinese Church's Perspective

1. Use the establishment of Chinese Catholic historical archives as an instrument for widely collecting historical literary materials and files of the Catholic Church before and after the founding of new China; and summarize and collect the experiences with sinification formed since Catholicism was spread into China, and put together research of Church history from the perspective of the Catholic Church in China.

2. Organize experts on Church history to compile and publish "A History of the Catholic Church in China", using adherence to the direction of sinification of Catholicism as the lead.

3. Study and draw from the historical experiences of other religions in China with sinification, achieving self-improvement through comparative research.

V. Build Theological Ideology with Characteristics of the Chinese Church


(1) Summarize the Experiences and Thought on the Sinification of the Church in Chinese Church History

1、 收集、整理自天主教传入中国,特别是自明末清初天主教重新传入中国至新中国成立前的有关天主教中国化文献资料,总结天主教中国化的过程和经验;

2、 收集、整理和总结新中国成立后我国天主教与社会主义社会相适应的相关文献资料,形成系统性思考;

3、 由「一会一团」牵头,以坚持我国天主教中国化方向为主题,编辑出版《坚持我国天主教中国化方向读本》。

(2) Deeply research theological ideology on localization of the global church

1. Place great importance on biblical interpretation and biblical theology, continuously returning to the bible, drawing ideals and motivations from the bible.

2、 从普世教会的历史和传统出发,特别立足于梵二大公会议的教会论述,在教会内普及相关知识;

3、 研究和借鉴各国教会梵二大公会议后开展教会本地化的思想理论与实践经验。

(3) Innovate in Expressions of Chinese Catholic Theological Ideology

1、 对天主教神哲学与中国哲学思想开展比较研究,加强宗教间对话,融合中国人与基督徒的生活经验,丰富和创新教会的神学表达;

2、 在教会传统神学的形而上学、本体论架构之外,尝试一种具有中国文化特征的,侧重伦理、自然、天人合一的思想方式,探索一种具有中国智慧的神学思想;

3、 重视教会基层信众在当今社会中的信仰及灵性经验,加强天主教中国化神学理论与实践之间的关联,把优秀的研究成果和思想推广到神哲学院和地方教会。

(4) Strengthen the Church's Establishment of Theological Research Platforms and Teams

1、 继续办好两年一次的「天主教中国化神学论坛」,开拓新形式,努力办成中国天主教最高层次的神学论坛;针对天主教中国化过程中遇到的问题,举行专题研讨会;

2、 成立「中国天主教文化研究所」,汇集教内外研究天主教的学者,形成一支基本研究队伍。

VI. Innovate forms of Church organization and management that have Chinese characteristics


(1) Deepen the Concept and Understanding of Democratically Running the Church

1、 通过调研、研讨会或座谈会形式,总结中国天主教在改革开放后坚持民主办教的经验和成果,把民主办教作为天主教中国化的一个重要举措;

2、 加强对梵二大公会议有关「天主子民」、「平信徒」论述的研究和介绍,发挥平信徒在福传牧灵以及教会管理上的积极作用;

3. Continue to explore the relationship between the holy ordering and the democratic management of the church, emphasizing service, and promoting the organic unification of the two.

(2) Improve Organizational and Management Systems

1、 依据新修订的《宗教事务条例》,针对新情况和问题,对《中国天主教爱国会工作条例》、《中国天主教爱国会、中国天主教主教团主席联席会议制度》、《中国天主教教区管理制度》进行修订;

2、 依照民主办教原则,理清爱国会、教务委员会、教区之间的职责分工,清晰各自属性、职能、任务,制定运行模式和工作细则;

3、 对地方天主教「两会」组织建设的现状进行调研,协助解决爱国会在组织建设中的实际问题;

4、 加强教会组织和管理的法治化和规范化,推动和协调教会团体、教会活动场所、神哲学院依法在民政部门登记备案;

5、 加大爱国组织中教友骨干的培养力度,提升教友骨干在爱国组织中的比例,发挥他们在爱国组织中的作用。

VII. Discuss Expressions of Rites That Have Chinese Elements


(1) Summarize Experience in Sinfication of Church Rights in History and Practice

1、 教会礼仪古老而神圣,需要神学和历史方面掌握其本质,以之作为思考教会礼仪中国化的思想基础;

2、 收集、分析和研究天主教进入礼仪之邦的中国后在礼仪上的思考和实践,弄清天主教礼仪中国化的关键,从中获得对今天中国天主教礼仪改革的启示;

3、 通过举办专门研讨会,总结梵二大公会议提倡礼仪改革后,中国天主教,包括华人教会在礼仪改革方面的得失,为教会礼仪中国化方案提供最新经验。

(2) Explore Expressions of Church Rites in Chinese Cultural Etiquette

1、 在「一会一团」计划发布的有关礼仪的牧函及指导手册中,尝试用一些既符合基督福音精神和教会传统,又带有中国传统礼仪色彩的话语,促进两者在理解上的交流和彼此丰富;

2、 在神哲学院的礼仪教育以及有关礼仪的培训班和讲座中,增加中国礼仪文化和礼仪史内容,拓展对中国传统礼仪的理解;

3、 召集教会礼仪研究者,举行高级研讨班,推动教会礼仪中国化探讨,成立咨询小组,为「一会一团」提出礼仪中国化方案;

4、 因地制宜,在少数民族地区,重视特有的礼仪传统,挖掘一些已形成的具有民族特点的教会礼仪。

(3) Steadily Promote the Sinification of Church Rites in Pilot Fashion

1、 「一会一团」以牧函等方式,针对一些重要的礼仪问题,提供一般性原则和建议;

2、 由「一会一团」督导在某些堂区,特别是在神哲学院试行一些具有中国化元素的礼仪,在确定不违反教会礼仪的一般原则和要求,不会在中国教会内引起冲突和争议的情况下,向全国推广;

3、 鼓励某些教区或堂区的礼仪创新尝试,回应他们的需求和问题,既避免激进和盲目的礼仪改革,也反对固步自封。

VIII. Advocate for Church Styles, Painting, and Spiritual Music Creations That Have Chinese Aesthetics


(1) Change the idea that church architecture, painting, and sacred music must be westernized

1、 收集、整理、研究自天主教传入中国后教堂建筑、绘画艺术、教会音乐方面的遗产。 结合天主教信仰的精神特征,探索新的中国形式、中国风格、中国特点,转变一切必须西方式的倾向和观念;

2、 在神哲学院培育过程中倡导教会建筑、绘画圣乐中国化的理念,开设一些相关课程,形成教会艺术中国化共识;

3、 在教区、堂区举办相关讲座,增进对中国传统艺术和审美的认知;

4、 在教堂建筑和绘画圣乐上树立中国化典范,组织现场交流会,鼓励设计、建造中西合璧、传统中式或具有民族风格的教堂;

5、 定期在全国举行教会绘画和教会音乐中国化巡回展示和表演,表彰优秀作品。

(2) Explore and accumulate methods for the sinification of church architecture, painting, and sacred music

1、 探讨和积累教堂建筑及绘画圣乐中国化的路径和方法,在新建教堂的设计中加入中国美学元素,在圣画创作中尝试传统中国画手法,在会音乐创作中注重中国风格;

2、 倡导体现中国人天人合一理念,既讲究中式建筑风韵,亦表现西式教堂建筑的神圣;在圣画创作中增添中国人的人文情怀和意境;在教会音乐创作中考虑民族音乐的自然精神;

3、 在融合在中国传统文化元素、符合普世教会大公精神及合乎教会礼仪的要求下,与时俱进,按多元化和稳妥性原则推进教堂建筑和绘画圣乐样式的中国化进程。

(3) Form assurances for the sinification of church architecture, painting, and sacred music

1. Cultivate a team of Catholic architects and artists who have a definite theological and ethical foundation and artistic gifts, and form a team of experts able to provide consultation services, and carry out relevant consultation and educational publicity work.

2、 以中国天主教神哲学院为基地,成立「中国天主教音乐艺术培训中心」;由「一会一团」主导,汇编一本具有中国天主教特点的圣歌集;

3. The CCPA and BCCCC are to encourage local Churches to strive for the sinification of church buildings and the creation of church paintings and sacred music; conducting pilot projects in some areas that will be expanded broadly.

IX. Organization and Implementation

(1) Strengthen Organizational Leadership

Adherence to the direction of sinification of Catholicism in our country s inseparable from effective organizational methods. The CCPA and BCCCC of the Catholic Church in China must bear primary responsibility, and set up a leading group to coordinate the exploration and realization of the sinification of Catholicism throughout the nation. Be problem-oriented, highlight a few special topics and establish expert groups to find breakthrough solutions.

省(自治区、直辖市)「两会」、教区和神哲学院应建立相关机制,由负责人牵头,推动天主教中国化的探讨实践,消除误解,把坚持我国天主教中国化方向的观念和工作落到实处。 依照本规划,省(自治区、直辖市)天主教「两会」、各教区及各神哲学院依据自身情况制订相应的天主教中国化五年工作计划。

(2) Strengthen oversight, inspections, and assessment of plan implementation.


Follow definite assessment standards to give commendations to people and teams making prominent contributions.

(3) Strengthen Publicity and Exchange Activities





(4) Strengthen the Integration and Establishment of Research Forces

The key to persisting in the direction of sinification of Catholicism lies in the formation and construction of research teams. From the very beginning, the process of the sinification of Catholicism in our country should be linked with the forging and construction of theological research teams within the Church. 坚持我国天主教中国化方向的探讨须借鉴其他宗教和学术界的相关研究成果,教会的研究队伍要吸收这方面的力量

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